Is there a right or wrong way to write a book review?
Well, simply put – there is.
While everyone has their voice, their style and what they include in a review there is also a wrong and right way to conduct a review.
There are some reviews of mine that have 20+ likes on Goodreads, while others don’t even have one. There are a few reasons for this:
- Not a popular book so there aren’t a lot of hits on the Goodreads page.
- Not an informative review that sheds light on key points or issues.
- Got lost in a sea of reviews!
I discovered one common factor in the books that did quite well as far as “likes” went, which was that I was informative. I didn’t waste time summarizing the book in what could be read in the synopsis. I forgot where I read this – but I read that in a review there should only be a few short sentences in regard to what the book is about – because there are things called Synopsises. I went into the main plot [or the world if presents a whole new world,] and explained what worked, what didn’t work, how did it make me feel?
The same went for the characters and their relationships. What transpired to make them grow? Did they even grow? What was a drawback for me? What did I absolutely adore? Why exactly I recommend it or if I even would.
Now I’m not saying that you have to write a review this way, that this is the absolutely right way.
What I am saying is that this is the formula that seems to work for me, that whenever I write in this fashion I receive the most likes or comments in regard to the book I reviewed.
As a reader, when I’m scoping out a book I will peek at the reviews – but when all I see is:
- ‘This book omgosh, wow wow wow *gif gif gif* I loved John Smith. Wow, he was so hot. He was magnetic and the plot wow.. I just.. Wow. I CANT EVEN.’
- It was a good book. I didn’t see things coming, it was a good book. I’d read it again and I’d totally recommend this book to you.
- Not a great read at all. Not worth your time.
I never find myself entirely compelled to read the book – or I just get frustrated as to why I can’t find an informative review!
All of the above can fall under the “But Why” question.
Here, fill this out:
- In a few short sentences who are the characters
- What are the characters plots
- Is this a new world? Explain – describe some laws or what the world is about.
- Why did the world work? Why didn’t it?
- The characters – did they develop? were they one-dimensional? what did you like about them or didn’t like?
- Were there overall drawbacks? Why, explain – give us some insight.
- What made the book for you? Or broke it.. not every review is going to be a fantastic one – but give proper, constructive reasons WHY.
This doesn’t mean your review will be five pages long – this can be done in a skinny version just as much as it can be done in the form of an essay. I’m also, again, not saying any other review is written wrong, but for every reviewer, there are also followers/readers that share similar tastes in books. This way potential followers can build their trust in your reviews.
That’s a wrap! Honestly, this formula can even be used for general product reviews, too.
I hope you enjoyed this segment. Comment below on what you’ve found effective when writing reviews, or even reading them.